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Tightening the Belt: Brandon Belt, Aubrey Huff, trade baiting, cheap lipservice and a conspiracy theory.

March 18, 2011

Pretty much everything either of us would have to say in regards to the Brandon Belt situation has been said by our various counterparts around the Giants blog scene, but I spent my Friday afternoon contemplating various roster configurations while pretending to be engrossed in a very important business email, so I’ve got a few things to add.

The first thing is that I call shenanigans on the “he’ll make the roster if he’s good enough” line.  If Belt doesn’t start on Opening Day, it’s because of financial and club control/contractual considerations and roster crunch concerns.  Not to say that those aren’t valid, buying some more time with Belt before having to really pony up the cash he’ll most likely be worth long term could potentially be worth a couple months of a Belt-less lineup, but I can’t help but feel some disingenuousness in the comments coming from Sabes especially.  It’s deeply suspicious to me that Huff has gotten no time in LF yet this spring if there is supposedly a fighting chance that that will be his Opening Day spot.  Bochy has finally confirmed that yes, Huff will get playing time in LF soon, but it makes me think that it’s taken until less than two weeks before Opening Day.  Yes, there’s a crowd out there fighting for playing time, but really? I don’t think I buy it.

Which leads me to a bit of conspiracy theorizing.  The Giants payroll has expanded by about $20M for 2011 and we’re looking at the very real possibility (or should I call it hope at this point?) of basically just eating Aaron Rowand‘s $12M for the next two years (all together now: “sunk cost!”).  There’s a spot, though not a desperate need, for a long relief/spot start guy in the bullpen.  What if the plan is to leave Belt in Fresno until closer to the trade deadline to see if they can make a deal to get a quality bullpen arm (again, not that there’s a desperate need for one, but it’s a possibility) or the infamous cash considerations for Aubrey Huff?  I’m not saying it’s necessarily at all likely, but I can see the logic and it’s just crazy enough to be the sort of thing to come out of the minds of the Giants FO.

If I was betting, I’d be putting money on Belt starting in Fresno with a May/June call-up, Huff moving to LF at that point with at least Travis Ishikawa no longer being with the club by then, and Rowand continuing to make me want to punch things.  That said, if I had bet on every safe or logical or reasonable move I expected from the Giants FO, I’d be even more broke than my liberal arts education has already made me.

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